The New Decade


It would be difficult to argue that our society does not have an obsession with staying young.  You can turn on any TV channel, turn any magazine cover or listen to any radio station and find an advertisement on the latest, greatest product that will erase the imperfections of aging and
keep you young forever.  Unlike the products that our society sells, unfortunately this obsession penetrates much further than skin deep.  I, myself, sometimes get caught up in this foolish notion that by preserving my skin, I will ultimately be happier because I will look younger, but the truth I have discovered is that there is a lot to appreciate when it comes to aging.

I turned 30 this last year and because I had friends who hit this milestone a year or two before me, I had a chance to really think about what it meant as I saw them struggle with the idea that they were no longer in their 20’s.  As I thought about what I would have to give up by turning 30, I realized that what I would lose was insignificant in relation to what I actually had to gain by saying goodbye to one decade and moving on to the next.

I have learned to embrace this next era of my life and I now genuinely look forward to this new decade - even if it does mean that I get more wrinkles and more gray hair along the way.  I think about how I have changed in the last ten years and there are many aspects of my life - I am happy to say - that I have been able to improve solely because of the lessons I have learned as a result of the experiences I have had.  I have enjoyed my 20’s and while I got to appreciate many of the pleasantries associated with youth, there were also a lot of challenges I had to overcome.  I learned what kind of person I was and what kind of person I wanted to be and that they were in fact not the same thing.  I learned what was important in my life and what was worth fighting for and what really wasn't.  I learned about sacrifice, dedication, flexibility as I ultimately learned what it meant to qualify as an adult.  And probably the most important lesson I learned was that I have a lot more to lessons to struggle through and that I may never be satisfied or confident enough to feel like I have overcome them all.  Through those important years I felt like I was able to shape myself into a person that I am much more proud of than when I started.  Without time passing, there is no way I would have been able to realize these necessary changes that are so pertinent to the character of my personality.  I have come to understand that aging is a natural byproduct of these realizations - a byproduct I can neither control or eliminate.  Therefore, I have learned to just embrace it.
So it has become my goal to not get caught up chasing the artificial happiness that is sold by the media around us.  As experience has taught me, there is absolutely no correlation between looking young and the genuine happiness one has in one's life - regardless of the image advertisements are trying to sell.   I know for certain that I have more joy in my life now than I ever had in my past. If aging is the price I have to pay for that joy, then I accept it and look forward to it even if it contradicts what the media is telling me.  
I have come to acknowledge every wrinkle on my face as a beautiful reminder of the memories of laughter I have shared with my family, the frustrating tears associated with the challenges I have successfully overcome as well as all the countless emotions I get to experience as a changing, evolving human being.  I hope that I can continue to embrace the changes I see in the mirror and focus on the internal development of my life rather than the grievance of physical age that our society is trying to convince me is a misfortune.  I have come to believe that age is beautiful.  Experience is beautiful.  Wrinkles are beautiful. And yes, even gray hair I have come to accept, is beautiful.

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